Penguins vs. Rangers Game 6: Keys for New York to Win
The New York Rangers pulled off a huge victory in an emotional Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they have the chance to tie the series in Game 6. The Blueshirts scored five goals in Game 5's win, and they were propelled by the emotional lift that Martin St. Louis brought to the team.
St. Louis' mother, France, passed away on Thursday, and it was unknown if the Rangers veteran forward would be in any condition to play. He was in the lineup for Game 5, and he will be for Game 6. It will be an emotional Mother's Day matchup, and his father and sister will be in attendance.
At this point, the Blueshirts are playing with house money, and a victory in Game 6 would force a Game 7 that could be a tossup at this point.
If the Rangers want to force a Game 7, here are the things they need to do.
Score the First Goal
Scoring the first goal is important, and according to stats that aired on the Rangers postgame show, the team that has scored first in Round 2 has won every game thus far. Scoring a first goal would be important for that reason, but making Marc-Andre Fleury uncomfortable early is something that the Rangers need to do.
He allowed four goals in Game 5, and he may be starting to doubt himself after a poor performance. If the Rangers make him work early, they will have an advantage in a pivotal Game 6.
Continue to Take Multiple Shots on the Power Play
The Rangers scored not one, but two power-play goals in Game 5. It was a nice change of pace to see the Blueshirts capitalize with the man-advantage unit, and they need to continue taking multiple shots in Game 6.
Prior to the success in Game 5, the Blueshirts were too fancy with their passes. Keeping it simple and continuing to chuck pucks on net will force Fleury to make saves, and that is something the Rangers need to keep doing.
If the Rangers get multiple shots, the goals will come and they will win Game 6.
Henrik Lundqvist Needs to Be Ready to Steal a Game
After an embarrassing performance in Game 5, you can expect the Pittsburgh Penguins to come out swinging in Game 6. The Penguins will look to avoid a Game 7 at home, and therefore they will likely go for the jugular in Game 6.
Henrik Lundqvist was great in Game 5, but he will need to be prepared for a tumultuous Game 6 that forces him to be nearly perfect.
Historically, Lundqvist has been up to the task, according to The Hockey News.
The Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 games when facing elimination, dating to Game 6 of the first round in 2012 at Ottawa. Henrik Lundqvist has a 1.38 goals-against average, a .953 save percentage, and two shutouts in those games. He is also 6-0 with a 0.98 GAA, .965 save percentage and two shutouts in his last six home elimination games.
The Rangers will likely come out with offensive confidence, but they will need another amazing performance from their star netminder.
Continue to Play Physical
In Game 5, the Rangers recorded 28 hits, and the Penguins recorded 18 hits. The Blueshirts' physical presence helped to wear out the Penguins, and it was clear that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were getting very frustrated.
The Rangers' ability to play a heavy game was a plus in Game 5 because it allowed them to generate offense. The physical forecheck and tenacity along the boards eventually led to Derick Brassard's first goal of the game, and the tone set early on carried on till the final buzzer.
In Game 6, the Rangers have the opportunity to set the tone early in their home building, and the power and momentum of the fans could help translate to on-ice success throughout the game. If the Rangers set a physical tone early, they can wear down the Penguins, and that will give them an edge in a potential Game 7.